A brace by substitute Lydon Micallef enabled Balzan to register a shock 2-1 win over Neftçi at the Bakcell Arena in Baku on Thursday. A win which was however not enough to overturn the 0-2 defeat they suffered last week.
Despite this first positive result for Balzan in their second participation, the result was disappointing as had they not missed a penalty when the score was still 1-1, they would have qualified on the away goals rule with a 3-1 win.
Balzan coach Oliver Spiteri started with Christian Cassar in goal and handed Justin Grioli a place in the starting line-up.
The hosts took the lead on the 20th through Jairo but Lydon Micallef levelled matters six minutes in the second half.
Six minutes later, Balzan were awarded a penalty following a foul inside the area. However Paul Fenech missed the target from the penalty spot.
Balzan still managed to go 2-1 ahead on the 67th through Lydon Micallef following an assist by Alfred Effiong.
Neftçi will be facing KF Shkëndija of FYR Macedonia who defeated MKS Cracovia Krakow of Poland with a 4-1 aggregate score.
BALZAN Christian Cassar, Justin Grioli, Paul Fenech, Borce Manevski (46′ Lydon Micallef), Dylan Grima (82′ Clive Brincat), Steve Bezzina, Anderson Francisco de Barros, Elkin Serrano Valero, Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Bojan Kaljevic.
NEFTÇI Krševan Santini, Jairo Rodrigues Peixoto Filho, Araz Abdullayev (77′ Fahmin Muradbayli), Elshan Abdullayev (90′ Rahil Mammadov) Ruslan Gurbanov (69′ Javid Imamverdiyev), Murad Agayev, Rahman Hajiyev, Vanche Shikov, Magsad Isayev, Dario Melnjak, Edson Daniel Castillo Garcia.
Referee: Yaroslav Kozyk (UKR)
Assistant referees: Yevhen Khalamendyk, Viktor Matyash (UKR)
Fourth official: Mykola Balakin (UKR)